Internet services banned in Kashmir Valley for one month, IFJ expresses serious concern

Srinagar, Thursday, April 27th, 2017:  The authorities imposed ban on 22 social media sites, mobile phone messengers and video-uploading sites in Kashmir for at least a period of one month. The ban has been imposed in the backdrop of unending protests led by youth, particularly students, in their teens and early twenties. The banned social media include Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and Skype.
The authorities have imposed ban on internet services for a period of one month. The Home Department of the territory in an order has directed all Internet Service Providers that “any message or class of messages to or from any persons or class of persons relating to any subject or any pictorial content through the following social networking sites shall not be transmitted in the Kashmir Valley, with immediate effect, for a period of one month or till further orders, whichever is earlier”.
Social networking sites to be suspended include Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, QQ, WeChat, Ozone, Tumblr, Google+, Baidu, Skype, Viber, Line, Snapchat, Pinterest, Telegram and Reditt.
The ban on the internet has been imposed following forceful anti-India and pro-freedom demonstrations by students across Kashmir valley.
It is to mention here that Internet mobile services in the bandwidth of 3G and 4G are already suspended in the Kashmir Valley.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed serious concerns over the one-month ban on Social Media in Kashmir. The IFJ has also demanded that the ban order should be immediately withdrawn and citizens’ rights to information and communication be respected.
The International Federation of Journalists is the world’s largest organisation of journalists. The Federation represents around 600.000 members in 139 countries across the world. The IFJ promotes international action to defend press freedom and social justice through strong, free and independent trade unions of journalists.
In a statement it said that “The IFJ notes that Kashmir has witnessed as many 14 internet shutdowns since 2016 and four of them in April 2017, making India the leading country in the world in virtual curfews.”
The IFJ said: “The internet shutdown is a form of censorship and against the fundamental rights of people to freedom of opinion and expression. The IFJ is seriously concerned by the frequent shutdowns of internet services in Kashmir and the impact of the shutdowns on media, journalists and people. The IFJ urges the Indian authorities to immediately withdraw the ban orders and ensure that the internet is not shut down in future.”